Withholding at Fourteen

by Joe Engel

My mom released the mail to the kitchen

table as if it blew there. “All junk,” she said

and asked us to help

with the trunk load of groceries. 

My friend had just prodded

me enough that I pinned him to the carpet

before I hopped up and passed 

through the kitchen before him.

Filled with the gloating of a boy 

who had just overmatched another,

I grabbed an envelope, turned 

and flung it through the light

to swipe him like a delirious bird, returning

to paper as it fell to the floor.

He buckled and clutched his eye

as my mother hurried over to look.

It was red with blood. A paper cut. 

A strike of such a kind of luck

that every name he called me

in that minute was true.

When he stood, there was a word

in my mouth, all alone, 

but my lips refused to move,

to bend for the injury I caused.

My mom put a towel on his eye, 

and some ice as I backed up,

letting our friendship thin, 

and started to form words, quietly

like that unopened envelope of offers,

on the other side of the room.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Luan says:

    Good One!!


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